Microsoft and Me

by Dave Michels

Regarding desktops, tablets, and smartphones – I am considering going pure Microsoft. That will mean two new mobile devices, and then switching to IE and Office 365. I will lose apps on my mobile devices and hinder my path to WebRTC. It will be a difficult transition.


It really boils down to two frustrations. Google’s whims and I am tired of interop politics.


For almost a decade, I’ve been living in a Google sponsored world.  Other than my Win7  desktop and notebook. My current environment includes a tablet and phone running Android, Gmail, Google Apps, and Chrome Browser (with plugins). The solutions work well and you can’t beat the price., but I feel like a cog in Google’s information machine.

I hadn’t thought about it much until they killed Reader. I loved Reader and I wasn’t alone. But it was taken away despite a loyal following. It didn’t fit Google’s needs anymore. Google Voice has become unreliable too. The recent XMPP stunt on Google Apps and Gmail was infuriating. Google recently updated my Android Gmail clients and I did’t like that either.

I don’t like being at the mercy of Google’s whims largely because they aren’t about improvements for me. The changes really seem either optimized for their real business of advertising or to drive adoption of Google+. The standard response ‘it’s free’ is no longer an acceptable trade. I want to be the customer again.

It won’t be easy to de-Google myself, but I think it’s time to start planning an escape route.


I’ve never been a fan of the walled garden, but I think it’s time to trade fantasy for reality. All the gardens seem to have a wall, or at least a fence.

The iPad didnt work for me largely because of Gmail. I tried various configurations: with one approach there were no contacts, with another I lost stars and labels. Many iPad users don’t even know what Gmail can really do. My last attempt with the iPad was when I marked a bunch of emails for follow-up only to find there was no way to sort them to actually follow-up on them on the iPad or my Gmail client. I got snagged on the fence between two gardens.

I realized that Google doesn’t want to make the experience great on an iPad. It’s a recurring theme. Each vendor has an agenda and it is not about giving their customers free choice. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all competitors on multiple fronts and work to sabotage each other’s efforts.

So I’ve decided to pick a garden. Three choices:

  • A) MS Windows, Tablet, Mobile, and Office 365.
  • B) Apple MAC OS, iOS tablet and mobile, Office.
  • C) Google Chromebook, Android tablet and mobile, Google Apps.

My core requirements are a good desktop, Office (there goes option C), email, Adobe Reader, Skype, and a few other misc. apps. Though most of my day is in the browser.


I’ve never really been an Apple fan. I’ve tried it out, but the walls around the garden are very high. The Apple ecosystem has come a long way, and now MS even offers Office on the iPad. I think I shall pass on Apple mostly for emotional reasons, but here’s my attempt at logic:

  1. With Jobs gone, the golden era is over
  2. They are more expensive
  3. I have never liked iTunes (and it’s hard to get away from if you use iOS)
  4. I don’t know what to do about the dock connector – Today I use 1 single USB mini for my Kindle, Tablet, and Phone.


Win8 makes the most sense to me. A Win8 desktop as my primary desktop will be similar to my current Win7 solution. A Windows tablet for travel will replace my travel laptop and Android tablet that can run Office. This Windows device will be compatible with my desktop. Microsoft’s Office 365 and SkyDrive will replace Google Apps and Google Drive with richer capability (but it’s a step backward in terms of collaboration).

There are not many apps on the mobile phones, but I don’t really use that many anyway. Some of my purchased mobile apps are just weak versions of my desktop apps. I do rely on mobile email, Twitter, a camera, Maps/navigation, and Evernote. All of that’s available, but I will need to switch from Google Maps to Nokia Here Drive. I’d prefer Google Maps, but Google is more interested in using Maps to hurt Microsoft than help me get to where I am going – oh well.

Have I got this thought out? Suggestions?

Regardless if I do this or not, it gives me confidence in Microsoft’s strategy. At the time of this writing, I have yet to try a Windows Phone or Windows 8 Tablet.